With its headquarters based in sunny California, Patriot has been producing high performance memory modules under its parent company PDP Systems for over 20 years. Sale of their modules is on a global scale with distributors throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. It would be fair to say that Patriot is better known by our overclocking buddies over in the USA, but have no doubt that Patriot is slowly and surely making its presence known in the UK enthusiast market as well.
Today I've been given the opportunity to take a look at Patriot's top-of-the-line PC2-8500 modules DDR2 kit, with eased latencies of 5-5-5-9. However, before we do this, let's see what Patriot have to say about themselves:
Founded in 1985, a member of JEDEC, PDP Systems has been a value-added global technology solutions provider. PDP manufacturers and distributes DDR2, DDR, SDRAM and Flash memories. PDP's services include worldwide OEM contract manufacturing and private label.
PDP's state-of-the-art Fremont, California, facility is composed of multiple production lines, and a highly skilled production staff. This gives PDP the ability and resources necessary to provide a full line of memory module solutions.
The Patriot Extreme Performance (EP) Eased Latency line is engineered to expand your gaming options. These modules are designed to operate at PC2-8500 with timings of 5-5-5-9 and are available in 1GB Kit and 2GB Kit capacities. They are equipped with heat shields to improve module stability performance while operating under extreme overclocking conditions. Engineered with the best quality components, the Patriot Extreme Performance line is the ultimate solution for extreme overclocking and games.
• Extreme Bandwidth PC2-8500 (1066MHz) • Eased Latency (5-5-5-9) • Bladed aluminum heat shields to improve module stability • 100% Tested and Verified • Compatible with new AMD AM2 and Intel Conroe Processors • Lifetime Warranty • RoHS Compliant • Voltage Setting: 2.6v
One of the things that struck me the most about the specifications of this kit was Patriot's recommendation to run them up to 2.6v. At this point I'm not sure if this is a typo, as 2.6v seems on the high side for any type of DDR2 memory (especially when it isn't actively cooled), but only Patriot can set the record straight. If indeed they are rated/guaranteed up to 2.6v, we could see some very good overclocking results compared with similar kits from other manufacturers that are generally only rated up to ~2.4v
As you may be able to see from the images above, the PDC22G8500ELK kit is based on D9GKX IC's from Micron. This will be to the delight of many overclockers as most D9 based kits have very good overclocking abilities, respond well to reasonable voltage increases and are also capable of fairly tight timings.
Patriot have made a slight alteration to the popular 'blister-pack' style packaging used by many manufacturers, opting for a slightly more protective dome style packet. This method of packaging may look slightly minimalist, but it certainly served its purpose, keeping our test samples unscathed on their lengthy journey from the USA.
To improve the aesthetical appeal of the packaging, Patriot have used a rather simplistic red backing card complete with a white radial pattern in the centre. Open up the card and you will find a basic guide on how to install the memory modules and further information on their preferred latency settings.
Utilising 'bladed' brown aluminium heatspreaders, it has to be said that the Patriot modules certainly aren't the best looking ones I've ever come across. However, once the modules are installed inside a darkened PC case they look closer to black (and thankfully slightly more 'extreme').
Getting the 'naked' shots of the memory modules with the heatspreaders removed certainly wasn't an easy task. The thermal pads Patriot have used are extremely sticky and appear to be made from some kind of fabric. If you're planning on replacing the heatspreaders on these modules you will need to take extreme care, as it is fairly easy to uproot the IC's from the PCB.
Processor: Intel Core2Duo E6700 "Conroe" Motherboard: Asus Commando P965 (unmodded) Graphics Card: Sapphire ATI X1950Pro 512mb Hard Disks: 2x Hitachi Deskstar 80gb SATA-II 8mb Cache (RAID0) Power Supply: Enermax Infiniti 720w Operating System: Windows XP SP2
When benchmarking the Patriot modules I wanted to be sure to cover all angles. Some people like to run their memory at low latencies, some like to run their memory at high frequencies, whilst others prefer a mixture of both settings. Below is some information regarding the testing procedures and their results:
Stock Settings (533mhz / 2.2v / 5-5-5-9)
After being worried by the extremely high stock voltage of 2.6v listed on Patriot's website, I decided to be slightly more conservative and run them at a voltage known to be perfectly safe for D9 IC's - 2.2v. At this voltage the modules had no problems performing at the listed stock timings as speeds with 100% stability.
Lowest Timings @ Stock Frequency (533mhz / 2.35v / 4-4-4-6)
By increasing the memory voltage up to 2.35v I was successfully able to reduce the kit's timings down to a respectable 4-4-4-6 whilst also maintaining the stock frequency of 533mhz. Increasing the voltage past 2.35v did not provide any more headroom for tightening the latency, and as a result combinations of RCD and RP set to 3 proved unbootable.
Highest Frequency @ Relaxed Timings (592mhz / 2.35v / 5-5-5-15)
By relaxing the TRAS slightly and increasing the voltage to 2.35v I was able to increase the frequency of the modules to 592mhz. Yet again, extra voltage over 2.35v did not help push the modules any further, and loosening the timings to 5-6-6-15 produced only a small overclock increase up to 598mhz. Active cooling was also tried with the modules above 2.35v, but it certainly seemed like heat wasn't the issue.
In terms of bandwidth, both the Everest and Sisoft Sandra testing suites showed the largest improvements when the frequency of the memory modules was overclocked to 592mhz.
However, in the latency results we can see a discrepancy between the two programs. Sisoft Sandra rightfully shows that the best latency results are produced when the modules are running at 4-4-4-6 (533mhz), but for some reason Everest gives the best score with the memory modules running at 5-5-5-15 (592mhz).
SuperPI results are heavily reliant on CPU and memory speed. As a result of this, I was not surprised to see a 38 second difference in the 16M time between the stock memory speed of 533mhz and overclocked speed of 592mhz.
Both 3DMark05 and 3DMark06 showed the best results with the memory overclocked to 592mhz. Probably the largest reason for this is that both testing suites are heavily influenced by processor speed and in order to run the memory at 592mhz the CPU speed was raised from 2.66ghz to 2.96ghz.
As expected F.E.A.R thrives on the higher memory and CPU speed, showing an 11fps advantage over the stock settings when running at 592mhz.
Counter-Strike:Source completely turns the tables on the rest of the benchmark results by performing best at stock frequencies with 4-4-4-6 timings. With the memory overclocked to 592mhz, the results are actually lower than when the memory and cpu are running completely at stock.
When reviewing hardware here at Overclock3D one of the questions we have to ask ourselves at this point in the review is: "Would I use this product in my own computer?". With the Patriot Extreme Performance PC2-8500 the answer would most definitely have to be Yes. Falling only 8mhz short of the magical DDR2-1200 and capable of timings as low as 4-4-4-6 when running at DDR-1066, the Patriot ELK modules are certainly fit for demanding overclockers.
Priced just under £260 at time of review (15/03/07), the Patriot PDC22G8500ELK isn't the cheapest PC2-8500 kit on the market. However, when you consider that it is capable of almost DDR2-1200 (PC2-9600) the price suddenly becomes much more appealing.
Pros: • Capable of tight timings at 4-4-4-6. • Only 8mhz short of managing DDR2-1200 speeds. • Lifetime warranty.
Cons: • Dark brown heatspreaders may not appeal to all. • Slightly pricey for a PC2-8500 kit.
A big thanks to Patriot for making this review possible.